data, productivity, team collaboration applications | by Joan Narciso

Tools of the Trade: My favorite data, productivity, and team collaboration apps

I’m not sure how many of my friends still don’t know that I’ve left my job that was based in Tarlac and I’m back in Dasma (for good). For over six months now, I’ve discovered the joys of working from home and I’m not sure you can bribe me to find a job that would require me to commute daily ever again.

As my job breathes and lives online, I communicate with colleagues using various online tools for communication, collaboration, file sharing, data recording & analysis, process documentation and implementation, and monitoring productivity.

Of course, email, Skype, and Google Drive or Drop Box are given. But, there are desktop and mobile apps I personally love. Sometimes, I get really amazed at what a certain app can do that I share it with some friends and former officemates. So not to annoy them individually anymore, I compiled my favorites and hope these could help some of you at your own workplaces or even with personal goal setting.



This is my absolute, absolute favorite sticky notes upgrade. If you’re a to-do list person, I guarantee you would love Trello!

Here, you can categorize your tasks how you want it: per urgency, importance, or type of work to be done. It also eliminates back and forth emails as you can invite teammates to join the board where you can tag them and share updates on specific topics. You can attach files, images, and even connect this to your work calendar.

data, productivity, team collaboration applications | by Joan Narciso

Trello’s interactive lists and cards are so easy to create and monitor that I even use it for my personal dream/goals board. I even have a board for what our family aims to buy by order of what’s important & urgent, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and not urgent & not important.

If you need more inspiration on how to make full use of Trello’s features, you can visit their inspiration gallery here.



Airtable has Trello’s features but it has way more than what Trello can offer. It is like a mutation of spreadsheets, almost fully automating different types of reports on a given data set with just a few clicks.

For starters, it could just be a basic spreadsheet like Google Sheets. But once you’ve filled the grids with data, the spreadsheet can transform to mini presentation cards, automated calendars, and individual cards that are loaded with information.

It’s also a team collaboration app so you can easily tag people, assign tasks to team members, and track deadlines. You can also make forms from Airtable and the answers sync automatically with your tables.

Whether you’re in sales, software development, editorial, or events and marketing, I’m confident you’d find this a better way to keep track of things at work. They have handy video tutorials, too if you’re a audio-visual learner.



I work with multiple tabs open at a time. Sometimes, that could take a toll on my laptop’s performance; s I try to minimize using extra applications when I could. When I need to take screenshots, and this is especially needed for creating process documentation files, I no longer use the snipping tool, or some similar application. Instead, I use FireShot. It’s a Google Chrome extension that allows you to take a screenshot, edit, annotate, copy and paste it wherever you need it even without saving the picture. And it doesn’t eat a lot of your laptop’s memory and disk performance.



Am I alone in thinking all this time that Bitly is just a URL shortener? Haha! Well, I learned it isn’t. You can use it to customize every single link you use which could help increase website engagement, as well as monitor the clicks and visits that those links get.


Canva for Work

I’m not a big Adobe Photoshop fan. Partly because my innate creativity gets sapped when mixed with too much technicalities to work around. Excuses. Gladly, there’s Canva for my 2-minute blog banners and quick and easy cards.

But it’s 2018 and no good application out there simply remain good. They just have to keep improving. Hence, Canva for Work. It’s a click and save tool for making sure you are following your company, team, or blog’s branding. Pick your colors, fonts, and logos and it will be easier for you to stick to those things when creating new content.


Bonus Tip for Windows 10 users:If you ever need to create documentation or instruction videos, you don’t have to download a special screen recording software. XBox, a built-in software I almost disabled, does the job.Just open the app you need to record, press Windows + G,  and select “Yes, this is a game” checkbox to load the Game Bar. Click on the recording button and start recording your screen. 

to all the friends i lost touch in recent years | | a blog by Joan Narciso

To all the friends I have lost touch with in recent years

Four months ago, I helped a friend with a work plan she has to present to her bosses and colleagues. Her topic had me going through my college files and folders to look for something that could help her. I didn’t know that browsing through old reviewers and  projects could hit me with waves of sadness. I sat in front of my laptop and realized how close I was with some people back then, and how we have drifted apart.

I had to pause and process the heavy feeling as I thought that there were friendships I could have worked on despite circumstances and feelings and distance and time. But here I am, comfortably hiding behind my ‘low maintenance friendship‘ and/or ‘sometimes people just drift apart,’ and/or ‘there are just some people you move on from‘ reasons.

Admittedly, this isn’t the first time I thought of reaching out to good old friends. As morbid as it may sound, every time depression and suicide are brought to our attention, I think of people who matter to me. Sometimes, I reach out to them; most times, I let my own challenging life take over and just hope to God they are fine.

I had a lot going on in my life for the past three years. Add that I grew less and less fond of social media in general. But I’m trying and hoping to change a few things. I haven’t gotten around reaching out to everyone I need and want to but I’m slowly getting there. It’s not easy and I don’t want my words to lack action.

But I hope I could put this out for all my friends from years ago — high school, college, youth group, cousins, colleagues turned friends,

I’m sorry I just lost touch with you. I’m sorry I didn’t work on my end of our relationship. I’m sorry if I used to talk about being an extension of the love of Jesus and have failed to extend that love to you as I faded into my own little world.

Life is short and I know this won’t mean much but I want you to know I still look back at our days together and get thankful for the times we shared. You were a part of my life and a part of me today is because of the bond I shared with you.

Somewhere, we lost touch and I might have done something that hurt you or we simply grew apart. Or maybe we now have different interests and stuff to do. Regardless, please know that there are days I remember you and I pray for your wellness.

I don’t post on social media these days and I don’t browse my Facebook newsfeed either. But if you ever need to rant or vent or simply talk about something you are happy about, you can message me. Sometimes we have a lot of friends and yet we feel like we got no one to talk to. I hope when you get days like that, you’d remember me.

Adulting, as we know, is a series of days filled with endless things that demand our attention, resources and time. I hope you know that when you need to pause, or when you need someone to help you pause, you got this one friend who is every bit hurdling challenges but has now learned to be intentional in her friendship with you. By that, I mean, we can chat, talk over the phone or grab some cheap coffee as we look back, pause the present, and look forward to better days.

~ Joan ♥

P.S. This isn’t a shortcut way for you to reach out to me first.. this is just some sort of heads up so you wouldn’t suddenly think I’m reaching out to you out of nowhere. ♥

Page 1 - by Joan Narciso

Page 1: Yep, it’s a whole new blog

Page 1 - by Joan Narciso

I know, I know. This is the nth time you are seeing me say “I got a new site, I’ll blog again!” For the past 3-5 years, a part of me wished I could literally start over but life doesn’t roll that way. So instead, I kept starting new sites hoping it would inspire me enough to write, finish and publish my thoughts. But I was already too stressed and too tired to take on the challenge of finishing a draft and publishing it online.

At some point, I just gave up and began turning my last site into a photo journal. But I’m no photographer. Yes, I learned to take a few good angles but I know it’s not photos I wanted to share. If I were to put a piece of myself in this generation’s version of the web, it has got to be words.

See, the written word, to me, is magical. I fell in love with reading as a kid and since then, words from books I’ve consumed have grown a desire to get shared. They won’t just settle at the nooks and crannies of my brain for my personal usage. They would form phrases and sentences and stories that compel me to grab a pen & paper and write.

Excuses & Reasons

I never really stopped writing. I just stopped publishing.

I would censor myself.

This story should not be shared because it could hurt this and that person/organization. Who would even be interested in reading my thoughts in an age of travel hacks, vlogs and well-curated feeds? Bloggers nowadays must follow a theme and my train of thought has far more categories than what is “accepted” and “allowed” in the blogging universe of 2018.

But those reasons — they are all about what other people would think. They are about turning a supposedly good hobby that gives itself to the world into a trade that takes from the world thru blog earnings, follower counts, and online applause.

This time, it’s just pages.

This new site — it’s a fresh start, but it’s also not a fresh start really.

It’s not a fresh start really because I now allow myself to take pages from my old notebooks & my drafts’ folder and hit that publish button. This time, I’m publishing  without the inhibitions of a young woman who felt she cannot publicly talk about her wrong choices in life, her past ordeals, her worldview that was shaped and is still being shaped by her Christian faith, formal and informal education, and experience with people.

It’s fresh because I get to write new things from a year of quiet healing and restoration, new discoveries from staying at home and consuming content from books and online resources, new stories formed after I survived a tough year, new stories from my new adventures.

I’ve always said that I have lived half of my life inside my head that the other half feels like a dream. And I would always live that way, only this time, I’m committed to taking pages from the inside of my head and out to the world wide web.